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More women come forward with tales of abuse by Schwarzenegger

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The L.A. Times editors have said their seven-week investigation of Arnold’s harassing behavior turned up many more stories than the six incidents they wrote about Thursday, but those other stories didn’t meet their standards: The editors insisted that they talk directly to the accuser and that at least one person corroborate the story.

Now more women have come forward with stories that meet the L.A. Times editorial standards.

Does it suck that this is happening so close to the election? Yes. But that doesn’t mean it is politically motivated (or lend any credence to the tinfoil-hat notion, generally offered without a scrap of evidence, that Gray Davis is somehow controlling the editors of the Times). By many accounts from political strategists, Arnold entered the race in this recall specifically because of the short run-up to the election. That’s also apparently why he waited until the last minute to announce (rather than clear the field early) and sent early signals that he wasn’t going to run.

Arnold knew these stories were out there. He bought up the “Pumping Iron” outtakes footage to keep his embarassing speech and behavior out of the public eye. He’s been playing a game with the press from the start: Can you catch me?

He could have run in the last California gubernatorial election but didn’t. Just coincidence that the last election, less than one year ago, had a typical months-long run-up, which would have allowed for more complete investigations of Arnold by the press?

Yeah, this stuff is coming in late. But don’t blame the press. Blame Arnold for not being willing to subject himself to the same process that every other governor candidate usually does.

L.A. Times:

Three more women said Friday that Arnold Schwarzenegger had grabbed or groped them.

The new allegations against the Republican front-runner in the race to replace Gov. Gray Davis came a day after he issued a blanket apology for “behaving badly” in the past.

The women who spoke Friday are:

•  An assistant director on the 1988 film “Twins,” who said the actor had regularly undressed in front of her in his trailer. Once, she said, he pulled her down on a bed while he was wearing only underwear. His behavior on the set, said Linnea Harwell, who has since left the entertainment industry, prompted her to warn women who came to her with concerns never to be alone with Schwarzenegger.

•  Carla Baron, a stand-in on the same movie set, who said the actor had sandwiched her between himself and a crew member and forced his tongue into her mouth.

•  Collette Brooks, an intern at CNN in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, who said Schwarzenegger had grabbed her buttocks and told her she had a “nice ass.” She said the incident occurred in a stairwell when she was 23 and that it had left her scared and shaken. She spoke about her alleged encounter at an event organized by opponents to Schwarzenegger’s candidacy.

Regarding the alleged incidents on the “Twins” set, Schwarzenegger said through spokesman Sean Walsh that “neither of these events occurred.”

Walsh said he had spoken to “Twins” director Ivan Reitman, along with the producer, publicist and others who worked on the film, “all of whom were on the set almost nonstop. All have said that they never witnessed this and would find it impossible to believe that this would have occurred.”

Walsh said the candidate had no comment on Brooks’ allegation.

Schwarzenegger issued his general apology after a story in The Times on Thursday detailed allegations from six women, dating back as far as 1975 and as recently as 2000, who said he had groped and humiliated them.

Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he didn’t remember specifics of his behavior, but acknowledged: “I have done things that were not right, which I thought then was playful. But I now recognize that I have offended people. And to those people that I have offended, I want to say to them, I am deeply sorry about that, and I apologize.”

Including the three women who spoke Friday, 11 women have said that Schwarzenegger touched them without their consent. Seven of the women have given their names. Four have requested anonymity, saying they feared repercussions.

Like those quoted in earlier reports, the women who spoke Friday had told other people about the encounters long before Schwarzenegger began his campaign for governor.

Harwell, who was charged with keeping Schwarzenegger on schedule on the Santa Fe, N.M., set of “Twins,” described a difficult environment for women.

“Everyone knew what was going on,” said Harwell, who is now a manager of an art museum in Atlanta.

Harwell said her job on “Twins” frequently required her to get Schwarzenegger from his dressing room. She said he regularly stripped naked in front of her. “I never had that experience with other actors,” Harwell said. “It was just inappropriate.”

She said that one time, as she waited for Schwarzenegger to sign a release in his room, he began taking off his clothes. “I said, ‘Can you please sign this? I have to go back to the set.’ ” Harwell said Schwarzenegger, dressed in undershorts, approached her and started pulling her down on the bed.

“He said, ‘I’ll sign it, why don’t you lay down next to me?’ ” Harwell said. “He was laughing like it was all a big joke. Well, it wasn’t. It was scary.”

When someone called on her walkie-talkie, Harwell said, Schwarzenegger let her go. After that, Harwell said, she always made sure another person accompanied her on the set, and she avoided entering Schwarzenegger’s dressing room.

Harwell said Schwarzenegger’s friends were on the lookout in case the actor’s wife, Maria Shriver, showed up. “Everything changed when Maria came on the set.”

When Shriver wasn’t around, Harwell said, Schwarzenegger made rude comments without regard to who overheard. “Why does he think he could get away with it? But he could,” she said.

Harwell’s husband, Michael, said his wife told him about the alleged encounters with Schwarzenegger in 1996.

“I would ask her about people she had worked with and naturally, when Arnold’s name came up, it was not pleasant,” Harwell said. “She said she would go to his trailer to get him and he would be naked or taking his clothes off.”

Told late Friday of Schwarzenegger’s denial, Harwell said: “Well, he can say that but it’s not true. I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I know is we’re telling the truth.”

The Times contacted Harwell after interviewing another woman on the set, Carla Baron, who said she had had problems with Schwarzenegger.

Baron, then 28, said she was a stand-in for lead actress Kelly Preston. She said the reports this week about Schwarzenegger reminded her of the feelings of powerlessness and humiliation she experienced.

Baron said she was standing next to a food service table with Schwarzenegger and his longtime stand-in shortly after Shriver left the “Twins” set. The men suggested making a “Carla sandwich,” Baron said. The stand-in moved behind her while Schwarzenegger stood in front. “I said something along the line of, ‘Boys, the sandbox is outback,’ ” Baron said.

“Arnold said, ‘No, I think we should make a Carla sandwich,’ ” she said. With Schwarzenegger facing her and the stand-in behind, they squeezed her between them, Baron said. After they separated, Schwarzenegger, who had just been smoking a cigar, bent her over and pushed his tongue in her mouth, she said.

“There was this tongue just lunging down my throat,” Baron said. “I am in shock at this point. I wanted to throw up from the taste. It was worse than licking an ashtray. It was like an ashtray of human flesh.”

When Schwarzenegger released her, Baron said, she “slapped him lightly on the face,” then pointed a finger at him, saying: “Do not ever do that again without asking my permission,” Baron said. Schwarzenegger immediately apologized and didn’t give her any more trouble on the set, she said.

Baron, now a psychic investigator who has a radio program and appears on Court TV’s “Psychic Detectives” said she complained to a female assistant director at the time. She also told a co-worker about the encounter years ago.

Paul Stern, her longtime program director at the radio station where she works, said she told him about the incident five years ago and has brought it up again whenever “Twins” airs on TV.

“She was talking about her experiences as an extra and it just kind of came up — the outrageousness of it happening and the nerve of it,” said Stern, vice president of operations at the Cable Radio Network in Sunland.

Like many other women who have spoken recently about alleged problems with Schwarzenegger, Baron said that at the time she felt her career would be jeopardized if she spoke out. “You’re blacklisted very easily,” she said. “They want to know who’s difficult and who’s not.”

She said she did, however, share the incident with the production’s only female assistant director. Movie databases show that the only woman with that title was Harwell. Harwell said that while she remembered Baron from the set, she could not recall her complaint. But she did say that Baron’s story, as recounted to her by The Times, was consistent with what she had experienced, witnessed and heard from other women.

Reitman, the “Twins” director, said in an interview Friday that he had not witnessed any abusive behavior by Schwarzenegger.

“I was on the set all the time and it was one of the friendliest shoots I’ve ever been on,” said Reitman, who has known Schwarzenegger for 15 years and recently held a campaign fund-raiser for him. “No raunchy stuff. People’s families were there.

“Nothing even approximating what you’re saying happened. I would have heard something,” he said.

The Schwarzenegger campaign made several “Twins” crew members available late Friday via conference call.

Peter Tothpal, a hair stylist who said he had worked with Schwarzenegger for about 12 years, sought to cast doubt on Harwell’s account, saying he never saw the actor invite an assistant director into his trailer.

Billy Lucas, Schwarzenegger’s stunt double for a decade, said he was with Schwarzenegger whenever the actor changed clothes for stunts and never saw Harwell in his trailer. He conceded he was not with Schwarzenegger each time he changed throughout the filming.

Also coming forward with new allegations against Schwarzenegger on Friday was the former CNN intern, Brooks, now a 45-year-old Culver City businesswoman.

Brooks said she was escorting the actor onto a set at CNN when Schwarzenegger, then in his mid-30s, groped her.

She said she was “petrified” after Schwarzenegger made a lewd comment and grabbed her buttocks in a stairwell.

“I came out to the green room, left shaking, and of course, said something to my boyfriend when I got home,” she said. She said no one witnessed the incident.

Brooks told The Times that details of the long-ago incident remain sharp: She was wearing a sleeveless summer dress. And she vividly recalled feeling afraid when he grabbed her.

Brooks told someone else about the encounter long before Schwarzenegger entered politics two months ago. Her boyfriend at the time of the encounter, a Los Angeles man who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Brooks described the incident to him back then.

“I remember she came home and she was very upset,” he said. “She told me about it and I said, ‘Yeah, you know, movie stars, celebrities, rock stars, they’re all sort of scumbags.’ ”

Brooks said she worked at CNN for about a year. At the time, Brooks said, she had a day job at an advertising agency and worked as an unpaid intern in the evenings at CNN. She believed the incident took place in 1982.

Matthew Furman, a spokesman for CNN, said that Schwarzenegger had appeared on a network talk show June 10, 1981 and again May 18, 1982.

Furman said CNN couldn’t verify whether Brooks interned there because it did not keep records that far back on interns.

Her older sister, Joyce Brooks Bogartz of Calabasas, said Brooks interned at CNN sometime between September 1980 and September 1982.

Brooks said she related the story this year to Jodie Evans, a co-founder of the woman’s peace group Code Pink, after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy in August. After The Times reported the other women’s allegations this week, Brooks said that Evans asked her if she would tell her story publicly.

Back then, she said, “I was certainly fearful of saying anything “I didn’t tell my producers because he was our guest and he was a star.” Now, however, “the stakes are much, much higher,” she said. “It not only affects me personally, but it affects all women in California.”

More:

Premiere Magazine article (serious misbehavior)
Desire to shove Arianna Huffington’s face into a toilet
Recall Governor Schwarzenegger!

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About Brian Flemming

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    What really bothers me, both as a Californian and as a reasonably civilized and rational man, is all the focus on whether the timing of these stories is political rather than on whether they are true.

    To me the timing became meaningless once Arnold admitted to the truth of at least some of the first stories.

    The capper was his saying “Sorry” and expecting to have everything washed away.

    And it was.

    Whadda country.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Whadda disgrace.